Banking Ombudsman
December 03 , 2012

All of us use banking services. There is a minute chance that you or somebody you know might someday get stuck in a serious dispute situation with a bank. When the last straw has been pulled, you can approach the Banking Ombudsman of your jurisdiction for settlement at no cost. Banking ombudsman is the official grievance mechanism for banking services and they work like umpires in banking. All scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks, scheduled primary co-operative banks in the country come under banking ombudsman scheme.

Banking ombudsmen are chief ranking officers appointed by the RBI for a period of 3 years at a time. There are 15 ombudsmen appointed for different jurisdictions in India. Details of ombudsmen are available at the website of rbi and also tabulated in the ready reckoner listed in additional reading section below.

What banking ombudsman can do for you

Ombudsmen have the power to consider complaints on banking, net banking and other services and bring disputes to settlement. Ombudsman has the power to award compensation up to maximum Rs 10 lakhs. You can raise matters of disputes on these general grounds:

  • Not paying or delaying payment or collection of inward remittances, cheques, drafts etc for unreasonably long period; not crediting or delaying in crediting proceeds to parties' accounts; not paying deposits, not issuing or delaying issue of drafts, pay orders or bankers' cheques
  • Not accepting (without sufficient cause) coins or small denomination notes
  • Not sticking to prescribed working hours or levying charges without prior notice
  • Disputes related to credit card or ATM/debit card
  • Refusing to open deposit account or forcefully closing deposit account without valid reason; refusing or delaying in closing accounts
  • Refusing or delaying in payment for taxes; delaying in disbursement of pension

If the dispute is to do with loans and advances you can approach the ombudsman if it is under one of these grounds:

  • Not following RBI guidelines on interest rates
  • Delaying in sanctioning or disbursing loan applications beyond prescribed period; not accepting loan application with providing sufficient reason
  • Ill-treating by bank recovery agents by not following RBI guidelines for the same

When you should go to the banking ombudsman

Before filing complaint with the ombudsman take the matter with the bank in writing and seek a written reply. Wait for their reply. If you are not satisfied with the bank's reply you can file a complaint with ombudsman within a year. Worse still if the bank does not reply within a month you can file a claim within 1 year and 1 month or rejects your complaint you can head for the ombudsman.

Ombudsman will not entertain complaints if the bank has not been approached for grievance first. If the matter has already been dealt with at consumer court, law court or has been settled by ombudsman earlier it will not be considered.

How you can file complaint against your bank

All it takes is to write a complaint on a plain paper or send an email to the ombudsman with necessary details. There are no charges involved. You can download complaint form from link provided in additional resources below. The form can also be filled online at

When all else fails

Ombudsman can reject a claim if the compensation sought is more than Rs 10 lakhs or if the matter requires elaborate evidence. If you are unsatisfied with the Ombudsman's decision the next place you can turn to is the Appellate Authority. You can also take other legal remedies available to you.

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